Aunt Gladys was ahead of her time.
The 92-year-old has made several life altering transformations, including moving from Idaho to Seattle to Portland where she and her husband built their own house, going to work in the 1950s at KGW radio before it became a TV station, and enrolling in nursing school later in life to help support her husband’s podiatry practice.
Although Aunt Gladys never had children, she was close with her niece Evelyn throughout Evelyn’s childhood, and as Aunt Gladys moved on in years, her niece rekindled their relationship in a new role – as a caregiver.
“Being a caregiver for my Aunt Gladys was something totally new to me,” said Evelyn Funda, an English professor who lives and works 700 miles away from Portland at Utah State in Logan, Utah.
“While she and my uncle never had any children, I was always fond of her and was happy that I could continue to love and support her as she aged. When my uncle died in 2010, Gladys was alone, so I began seeing her more regularly. I realized I needed a team of experts to make sure that Aunt Gladys was financially secure and physically and emotionally safe.”
“I knew that I’d have to leverage Gladys’ home to provide for her, and I knew I had to find the right level of care and housing because her memory was rapidly fading,” said Funda.
“With the aid of a social worker, I found Joyce Sjoberg and Aging Advisors. Everything just clicked and together, we’ve accomplished a great deal for Aunt Gladys.”
With the help of Aging Advisors, Funda enlisted elder law attorney Sara Butcher to create a thoroughly researched and expertly written report for guardianship, which maps out a plan to tend to Aunt Gladys’ changing needs.
Next, Sjoberg and her team helped Funda arrange a tour of a number of facilities. Her first choice fell through, and Funda prepared herself for a bumpy ride but that didn’t happen. The second choice worked out perfectly as Sjoberg and her team was a sounding board for helping make housing, legal and medical decisions. Now Gladys is happily settled at Brookdale Memory Care in Beaverton.
“Aging Advisors even helped me convert Aunt Gladys’ house into a rental unit. Though Joyce had never done that before, she was game for a challenge,” said Funda. “The house was a mess, and Joyce helped me find the estate sale company Vintage Betti Estates Services to sell a house full of belongings Gladys no longer needed. Then she helped me find a clean-up team and a contractor to ready it as a rental.”
In the meantime, Gladys is enjoying her friends at Brookdale where she will soon celebrate her 93rd birthday. Raphel, from Aging Advisors, checks in regularly with Gladys and takes her on outings to get her hair done and to see her doctors.
Quarterly assessments are conducted where upcoming issues and questions are addressed. While Gladys is doing well physically, her memory continues to fade. In the meantime, everything is copacetic – as long as Aunt Gladys’ weekly bingo game isn’t interrupted!